BEWARE phantom grid draw with Tesla Powerwall 2 and a Smart Meter

In this video I’m going to highlight the grid power usage discrepancy between what the Tesla Powerwall 2 states has been used by our home from the grid and what the smart meter says has been used from our home from the grid The difference is huge…it’s a phantom draw phantom grid draw and it’s costing me money You too may have the same problem. So stay tuned Hi John here. First off this video is primarily aimed at people living in the UK. If you live outside the UK you may find it the following information useful however it’s unlikely to affect you. Getting to the nub of the problem when our Tesla Powerwall states that we have 100% Self-Powered for the previous day our electricity shows that we’ve imported 3kWh of electricity from the grid where it should be nothing Which means one of them is not telling the truth. This video explores my theory as to why that is, and which one’s at fault Since having a SMETS2 electric smart meter installed in July 2019 I’ve noticed a massive variance between what the Tesla Powerwall 2 states we have used from the grid each day and what we’ve actually consumed as recorded by the smart meter The highest variance I’ve recorded was 3880% Yes that’s right 3880% difference between the two figures The Tesla Powerwall stated we pulled 100 watts from the grid over a 24-hour period whereas we actually pulled 3.98kWh from the grid during that same period Over the past 12 months the average percentage difference between the two readings is 382%. The Tesla Powerwall 2 has been constantly under reporting the grid usage by an average of 382% Both data sets have never once agreed since the day of installation of the smart meter. So a faulty smart meter perhaps? Well it may be too easy to point at a faulty smart meter. I believe the problem is more deeply rooted than that The disturbing thing is that during my researchIi know that I’m not alone with this particular situation I know of at least 17 other people with the same symptoms I’m sure there are many many more that don’t know about this Hence the reason for making this video I wanted to explain the problem and raise awareness of the issue so we can collectively approach Tesla, and our respective energy suppliers with the facts and data More on that later on how we can support each other However one key way is to share this video and let others know that they are not alone. I’ve calculated that this data discrepancy is costing me around an extra £200 per year on my electricity bill. So it’s not an insignificant amount Others are seeing less variation in their figures and you know and there may be more people who are seeing more Hence this video to raise awareness and hopefully try and gauge the scale of the issue. It is worth stating that not all installations are seeing the same results as mine Some people iIve spoken to are seeing very accurate readings between what the Tesla Powerwall 2 states has been used from the grid and what their SMETS2 smart meter is showing So you know it’s all good there and really what you would expect to see from the installation. I’ve had the Tesla Powerwall 2 with Gateway 1 installed since December 2018 The SMETS2 smart meter was installed in July 2019. And before that we had an old fashioned type meter it had an electronic display but it was a dumb meter it only recorded import from the grid. With the old meter I never noticed the discrepancy in the data because I didn’t really have easy access to the data To get any data from it I would have had to physically go outside open the meter box cupboard and manually read the meter each day There was no option to look back at historic data where you could look at yesterday’s figures. This meant if I was going to record daily figures I had to do it every day at the same time each day come rain or shine. You can obviously see why this idea never got off the drawing board really The new smart meters are more accurate and are able to detect

a much lower level of grid usage compared to the old meters and they record additional parameters which we will cover in a moment So this is my setup. I have a single phase AC supply with 100 amp fuse It’s residential. Our DNO our Distribution Network Operator is Western Power Distribution We have smart meter which is a Landis + Gyr. I don’t know how you pronounce that apologies E470 Type 5424 SMETS2 meter installed on the 19th of July by E.ON. And it comes with a chameleon technology UK limited in-house display (IHD) We’ve got a single Tesla Powerwall battery with Gateway 1 and that was installed on the 4th of December 2018 by JoJu Solar Limited. We’ve got a myenergi zappi ev car charger, the version one, which was installed at the same time on the 4th of December 2018 but again by JoJu Solar Ltd We’ve got a myenergi eddi immersion heater which was installed on the 22nd of July 2019 Our solar arrays we have two we’ve got one which is a 4kW, comprises of 16 250 watts Sanyo PV panels with a 3.8kW SMA sunny boy inverter and that was installed on the 8th of September 2011 Our newer array is a 2.34kW comprising of six 390 watt sun power maxion 3 panels with a 2.2kW SolarEdge inverter which was installed on the 30th of October 2019 by Stratford Energy We’re on the Octopus Energy Agile tariff which has half hourly billing and we moved to that tariff on the 7th of July 2020 Previously to that we were on their fixed Go tariff which was from July 2019 when we joined them through to the 6th of July the day before we swapped to the Agile tariff We have a Tesla Model 3 Performance model and we have a Hyundai Kona 64 kW SE Premium model. And that’s our setup Let me show you the variations in the data sets I’ve taken a random 31 days of July 2020 as a sample data set to show you However, I could have easily picked any month over the past 12 months since the smet meter was installed and the results would be basically the same but it gives you a flavour of the data When we moved to the Agile tariff with Octopus energy on the 7th of July 2020 we moved to their half hourly billing. And this really increased my interest in watching and reviewing our half hourly house usage and grid usage So let me log on to the Octopus Energy online account to show you my day-to-day historic usage In the half hourly blocks and alongside that I’ll bring up the Tesla Powerwall 2 app so you can see and compare the data for each day To keep things sort of clean and simple on screen, I’ll only show you the grid data from the Tesla Powerwall app rather than all sources This will remove any sort of noise and allow you just to focus on the grid usage figures for each day As you can see there’s quite a variance between the two data sets Here’s a chart showing the differences between the two readings on a day-by-day basis for the same month of July 2020, that same data set The smart meter is represented in the blue column and the Tesla Powerwall data is the green column When we pull a large amount of grid energy the difference between the two figures is a lot lower when we pull very little

from the grid according to the Powerwall it produces the highest discrepancy between the two figures Look at the end of July, most days we were pulling 200 watts on the grid per day according to the Tesla Powerwall essentially running on excess solar during the day and the powerwall battery after the sun disappeared. But we’re still pulling around 3kWh each day from the grid according to the smart meter. 1500% difference between the two values Those figures hopefully demonstrate the problem. Does this resonate with you? Are you seeing the same variance to a lesser or greater number in your system? If you have a smart meter and a Tesla Powerwall 2 have you checked what your smart meter is stating you’ve pulled from the grid compared to what your Tesla Powerwall is saying that you have If not then it may be worth checking to just to see If you have checks and it’s yes and you have the variance in what the smart meter and the Powerwall app are saying then stay tuned to the end to learn how we can help each other Let’s have a look at some of the components of our system and consider whether they could be the cause of the problem. So the Tesla Gateway we’ve got the original Gateway 1 installed on our system. The latest version unsurprisingly is Gateway 2 I know people who have the Tesla Gateway 1 and others who have the Gateway 2 both versions experience the same data discrepancy and phantom grid draw ThereforeIi don’t believe the version the gateway has any significance in this The SMETS2 smart meter. Blaming a smart meter may feel like the obvious culprit and in many cases is probably the newest and last component to be installed on many people’s systems, e.g. it was okay before the smart meter was installed and I can understand that reasoning for pointing to the smart meter I believe the smart meter has allowed us to see the issue which has been there all the time the smart meter is more accurate easy to read and monitor historic usage it’s there for easy to track usage I know a couple of people who have had their energy suppliers come out and install a check meter to see if their smart meter is faulty in every case the smart meter has been 100% accurate and within its manufacturing standards and tolerances Certainly there’s going to be faulty smart meters out there with 17.4 million smart meter installations in the UK to date of which over 4 million are SMETS2 smart meters the numbers alone point to the fact that there will be a percentage of faulty or inaccurate meters However, I don’t think the smart meter is the problem here So let me talk you through my investigation so far a little bit of history on my case I first raised my phantom grid draw issue with my solar installer JOJU Solar back in July 2019 a few days after the SMETS2 smart meter was installed JOJU have been very helpful in terms of listening and they reached out to include Tesla, who in turn asked Octopus Energy to help with information about the SMETS2 smart meters. A case INQ20190729-049 was logged with Tesla and initially there was a flurry of activity requests for photos additional information to try and ascertain things And all of which I supplied and all of these things have covered in a previous video made back in October 2019. The link of that is sort of up there if you’re interested in watching that I’ve re-raised the case towards the end of the year in 2019, but since then I’ve heard nothing so at the end of July I re-re-raised the case and asked for a progress report At the time of making this video I’ve heard nothing. However, I’m not going away especially as I know others are in the same situation There’s a small ground swell of interest from those impacted users as more and more people are getting SMETS2 smart meters installed and Tesla Powerwalls the issue may become even more prevalent It’s fair to say that at this stage I’m still in a fact-finding mode Which means that this is ongoing from my perspective and what I’m recording today is the state of play as it is today the 11th of August 2020. This will undoubtedly change as I learn more, and disprove theories and hypotheses It’s also worth stating that I’m not electrical engineer and have a very basic limited knowledge of AC electrical systems If only Nikola Tesla was around. I’ve

created a report that details my situation to help explain to others so please feel free to download it. I’ve added a link to that in the description down below In terms of other users I’ve been conversing with sharing data and information over forums like the Tesla Motors Club forum and by email of a number of users who have the same issue One user Mike has been extremely active in trying to understand this problem and we’ve been sharing and pooling our findings and knowledge and data Mike has had a check meter installed by his energy supply EDF with EDF confirming that his SMETS2 smart meter is working perfectly is accurate and within specifications He’s also had confirmed that SMETS2 smart meters have the ability to record and report on additional parameters. And four of these parameters are the four power quadrants. And I believe these are of interest to us. These quadrants are Active Energy imported, Active Energy exported, Reactive Energy imported, and Reactive Energy exported Now just let’s back the truck up a bit and talk about those terms. I think probably most of us will be familiar with the Active Energy import and export You know that’s the amount of watts we import or export to and from the grid In the UK it’s often referred to as units, as in units of electricity. One unit equaling one kilowatt. Active Energy also known as True Power or Real Power is the actual amount of watts being dissipated or used by a circuit Very simply you turn on 100 watt light bulb and it consumes 100 watts of power That’s Active Energy, True Power or Real Power I’ve no idea why they have three names for the same thing! I’m surprised there’s no like Latin equivalent just to add even more complexity So what about Reactive Energy then what’s that all about Now apologies to any electrical engineers out there for this really simplistic explanation Please feel free to jump into the comments section down below if you can assist at some clarity and explanation for all us non-tech folk Reactive Power is also known as Useless Power, Wattless Power or Phantom Power That one has four names. Reactive devices like electric motors, transformers and capacitors will store some energy when a voltage is applied and they will return that energy later Think of a spring. When you compress a spring you put power into that spring and when you reduce or release the force such as voltage the spring will spring back. Returning the energy put into it no energy is absorbed by the spring Reactive loads return the same amount of energy put into them at a later point in time So let’s go back to the example of electric motor the reactive part of the power creates a magnetic field which then collapses and reforms in the opposite direction as the applied AC voltage goes through its cycle It is this magnetic field that provides the mechanical force between the two different parts of the motor resulting in the motor rotating. Only active power is consumed by the motor and only when the motor is actually spinning A simple analogy that I picked up during my research was if you consider a wheelbarrow then you must lift it up in order to move the goods forward. The lifting up doesn’t actually move the goods you need to do in order to move them can’t drag it on the ground So reactive power is the lifting up Real power, Active power as you push forwards moving the goods. And then Apparent Power is the entire effort. New term Apparent Power The combination of Reactive Power and Real Power is your Apparent Power. Now historically before domestic SMETS2 smart meters only industrial sites and large businesses needed to worry about reactive power If there was a large amount of power being wasted more current needs to flow to provide the same output. This puts additional strain on the distribution network potentially increasing the costs for the Distribution Network Operator to supply electricity To encourage business customers to improve their electricity efficiency or electrical efficiency all Distribution Network Operators apply reactive power charges if a customer’s average power factor, I’ll cover this term in a minute, over the billing month is below a

certain level. Normally below 0.95 they will apply a charge In a modern domestic home there are more and more electrical items that have components that could use reactive power. Fridges, freezers, solar inverters, Tesla Powerwalls, potentially any item that either has a transformer, a motor, or a capacitor in it could pull reactive power depending on how inefficient it is Could it be that reactive power problem is now starting to impact domestic homes because SMETS2 smart meters can record reactive power are we being charged for it? I don’t know but it’s certainly a question that needs to be explored Let let me come back to Power Factor for a minute. The last term to cover actually So Power Factor is an expression of energy efficiency and it’s usually expressed as a percentage. The lower the percentage the less effective power usage is. A power factor of 1 1.0 when the voltage and current are in phase anything less than one is considered inefficient So for instance a power factor of 68% or 0.68 means that only 68% of the total current supplied is actually doing any work the remaining 32% is reactive and has to be made up by the utility company As you can see here in this video that my Power Factor is very very low the values keep fluctuating as the load on the house changes This was filmed at 4 30pm on a Thursday. The house load was about 1.9kWh 1kWh was being supplied by solar, excess sola,l and the balance supplied by the Powerwall. There was no pull from the grid. Mike who I referred to earlier has pulled the Powerwall API data and has seen the reactive power import and export figures shown in that data Again it’s constantly changing minute by minute but you know but it’s there as you can see power factor and reactive power are linked We need to strive for a power factor of 1 which results in less reactive power Remember the spring analogy, reactive power will be imported and exported and recorded by the smart meter. This I believe potentially is a problem that requires further investigation If we import and export reactive energy it will balance itself out however because I’m not being credited for any export. I can’t balance the financial side of things I did find a note on Octopus Energy’s Business Terms and Conditions I’ll bring it up so you can see. Section 5 Charges 5.5 we shall pass through to you any cost incurred for reactive energy and excess capacity levied on us by our network operator. I’ve emailed them on the 6th of August to ask whether I’m being billed for reactive power or based on my power factor. As I record this, you know, I don’t know if domestic customers are being charged for reactive power I said about not being able to balance the financials I’m on the Octopus Agile tariff with that tariff you cannot have a SEG a Smart Export Guarantee which makes sense electricity unit rates are very very low in the first place. This means that I’m sort of being billed for what I import from the grid but cannot gain payment or credit for any export However, I guess that clouds the issue slightly. The real problem is that I shouldn’t be importing the amount of electricity from the grid that i am. When according to the Tesla Powerwall app that I’m running off grid or to put it another way self-powered I should not be importing 3kWh of power from the grid and that’s the root of the problem So is it that the Tesla Powerwall factor is low and therefore inefficient. Looking at the technical specs of the Powerwall it states that the power factor range is 1.0. Which is very good and it’s adjustable plus and minus However, I do not know what the line below it means power factor range for rated power so do let me know in the comments below if you know what that means So what are my next steps? My next line of inquiry is to understand from Octopus Energy whether we’re being charged for reactive

power From Tesla I need to get an update on my case I’ve also asked them what my power factor is for the home and for the Tesla Powerwall But how can you help? Firstly, by sharing this video. If we can get the message out there to fellow Powerwall users and SMETS2 smart meter users that would be awesome Your likes, comments, and shares all help to get this video to a wider audience which is vital To help get this message out if the things I’ve talked about you know resonate with you and your experience with the Tesla Powerwall 2 and the SMETS2 smart meter and do let me know in the comments below As I mentioned earlier being able to approach this with data being able to show that many other people are having the same problem gives us a much better chance of being heard and getting some traction on the issue Your phantom power drain needs you Okay, I’ll see you in the next video Thanks for watching. Take care Bye